The true cost of inadequate industrial flooring
Creating a safe workplace that is safe for employees and visitors should be your priority, it is also a legal requirement according to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA 1974). As an employer, you must ensure the health and safety of your employees insofar as is reasonably practicable.
Employers do this by balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the risk in terms of money, time or trouble. One of the most common risks and causes of injury in the workplace is slips and trips.
The BBC revealed the amount that Network Rail had paid out for slips and trips via a Freedom of Information Act. Network Rail had paid out £951,360 over a five year period ending in 2019 for 290 claims (an average payout of £3280.55). Here are some statistics from the HSE website for slips, trips and falls.
- over a third of all reported major injuries
- 20% of over-3-day injuries to employees
- 2 fatalities per year
- 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public that happen in workplaces
- cost to employers £512 million per year (lost production and other costs)
- cost to health service £133 million per year
- incalculable human cost
- more major injuries in manufacturing and in the service sectors than any other cause.
These figures should be startling to any employer. We’ve listed below what HSE states are the biggest barriers for reducing these risks.
- People not taking the risks seriously.
- Little understanding of the causes of slipping.
- Thinking that slips and trips are inevitable.
- Poor application of risk assessment and management controls.
From this, it is immediately apparent that a lot can be done to reduce those risks. Firstly, we must know what to look for.
The main causes of slips, trips and falls in the workplace are uneven floor surfaces, wet floors or unsuitable floor coverings. Every employer has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that floors are in good condition, free from obstructions and suitable for the work required as per The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
There are a number of things to ask yourself to decide if your floor needs to be redone. Firstly you need to look at what kind of flooring you have and if it’s fit for purpose. If the floor has high levels of traffic going across it, does it have a durable coating etc?
Something else worth considering is that if your floor doesn’t look great, with chips, tyre marks and cracks then it’s likely that new flooring is required. With the aim of zero operational downtime, a lot of companies tend to opt for smaller patchwork jobs. This, however, can be more damaging and the benefits of a completely new floor with appropriate coatings will save you more time and money than patch job work ever could in the long run.
Having a flat floor doesn’t mean it’ll be flat forever. Warehouse floors typically take high-levels of traffic and weight. Consequently, this will affect your floor and eventually will mean that it’s no longer flat. As we mentioned before, uneven floors are a huge safety issue and need to be sorted as a priority.
PSR Industrial Flooring has been serving companies for over 20 years with the highest quality floors and maintenance. If you think your floor may be inadequate, please contact us to organise a free site visit.